Dear Neighbor/1st Ward Resident:
I am writing in hope that you can be present at a public hearing on *August 8th @ 10am concerning 134/136 Warren Street.
This property is already zoned commercial, the only thing in question is whether to allow the alteration to the structure to allow the proposed storefront design.
The structure has been altered several times since it was built in 1820, in 1860 the Mansard roof was added and 2 over 2 windows & portico, later a storefront was added on the 136 side and that storefront has been altered several times over the years.
The structure is need of repair / and the tenants rented to have been problematic over the years, the property owner has finally decided to step and repair/update/upgrade the structure. Part of that plan was to add a storefront to help offset the cost of the restoration/renovation.
I realize the Historic Preservation Commissions mission is to decide what structures should remain "intact" as they are, however I do not believe that this structure is of such "Historical Importance" given that it has already been compromised/altered over the years.
As our city grows, how do we balance economic growth with preservation? I think I designed a compromise with respect to existing architecture while allowing the property owner to offset cost by potential storefront and support economic growth of the city.
The proposed Storefront is sympathetic to the style of the structure and what 1860 Storefronts would appear, with setback entrance and flanking windows.
I hope that you can attend and let your voice be heard, whether for or against, but I would ask you to consider how do we grow as a city, create and foster a "thriving community" while respecting our architectural heritage?In a city like Hudson, where the architecture is remarkable for its palimpsest quality, making decisions about appropriateness is a difficult and delicate thing--much more so than many people who have served and who currently serve on the HPC appreciate. Tom Swope, who chaired the HPC from 2008 until the beginning of 2012, once said, matter-of-factly, that it was always appropriate to return a building to its earliest configuration--even when there is no pictorial documentation and the original configuration could only be deduced. A consequence of such an attitude is usually the elimination of elements that are themselves historic, having been part of the building for more than a century.
Similar to the attitude that condones stripping away historic fabric to return a building to its original design is the opinion that once a building has been altered, it no longer has "historic importance," and there should be no impediments to further alteration. That sets the bar for historic preservation impossibly high. By this argument, only buildings that have survived through time meticulously preserved and unaltered deserve the protection of historic preservation. Few buildings in Hudson--indeed, few buildings in the United States--meet that criteria.
The question of whether 134-136 Warren Street is or is not of historic significance, however, is really not open for discussion--at least not as far as the law and the Historic Preservation Commission are concerned. In April 2006, the Common Council passed a resolution creating the Warren Street Historic District, and 134-136 Warren Street is a contributing structure in that district. Prior to that, in 1985, the Hudson Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and 134-136 Warren Street is a contributing structure in that district as well. As a contributing structure in a historic district at the local, state, and national levels, 134-136 Warren Street has the protection of the Historic Preservation Commission from inappropriate development.
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